Hackmaster (Hardcore Edition)

Mines Of Chaos

We recruited the new PCs, and headed out to the Mines of Chaos. First, we found a small abandoned mining operation, which we converted into a makeshift base for our minions. Using a compliant Orcin prisoner as a guide, we ventured to the Mines proper, which has a small group of Kobolds living before it, hoping to ambush passersby. Upon taking over a kobold bunker, the Blood Hawks found it contained an opening into the Mines of Chaos proper.

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Dishonored Dreamer

The sun had just begun to rise as the exiled pair were well on their journey home to beg for forgiveness from the clan.
“What did I do to deserve this?” Nuae muttered softly as his companion convulsed on the path, “Seems the Gawds still are jealous of your beauty Lilandriel.” After she began to gurgle, Nuae knelt down beside her to help keep her from choking on her tongue. “This all could have been different,” Nuae moaned as he reflected over the past week.
* * * * * *
It began like any other night, Nuae pondered how the Blood Hawks could be further pushed into fame and glory. A magical sword certainly could improve our worth, he thought. “But is it worth the risk? After all I am no grave robber,” Nuae spoke aloud. Perhaps it wasn’t in a grave, simply a lost relic. Nuae’s thoughts pushed him further into his decision. “I will do it, but alone. If things should go wrong, I would hate for my comrades to be held responsible.”
After a short meeting, a shady fellow led Nuae down a well within Frandor’s keep and they forged upstream against the chilling current of the sewer. Nuae noticed upon reaching the drizzling exterior of the tunnel that the night was ideal for one to remain unnoticed; however, a treacherous Cliffside still challenged Nuae. Perhaps this was a mistake, Nuae thought to himself as he looked to the dangers ahead, but money has been spent, so I need results. He began climbing using the rough handholds that would have been great if not for the rain. “This rain has increased the difficulty of my task twice over,” he muttered as he continued the climb.
After cresting the cliff side, he belly-crawled most the way into long grass. Dilligently he began his search to find the place the man had described, which Nuae now realized was ambiguous. After losing himself several times, fighting a ghoul, and desperately searching several graves, Nuae was bloodied and in tatters. It was then he found a sword signed by Lord Flattaroy himself. “I swear to you on my family’s honor that this will be returned to you one day, and that I, Nuae of Clan Alean Emar will improve this resting place to its former glory. Rest well, soldier,” proclaimed Nuae as he knelt before the tomb.
The sky had begun to grow lighter, so Nuae set off back towards the cliff. A few steps from the edge, he stubbed his toe stupidly on the only branch in the open. A guard who normally would be sleeping on post stirred by a delightful dream of Yakomina and awoke to see the sly, unscrupulous adventurer. After putting a crossbow bolt into Nuae, he found himself sleeping once again. Nuae found his way back to the well even as guards raised the alarm, the only problem was that the rope up the well was no longer there. “Gods curse that dawg who tempted me into this,” Nuae spat as he drifted down stream. He stowed his gear and tempted fate as he swam across hoping to avoid the waterfall.
* * * * * *
Lilandriel’s fit had ceased and she was conscious again, however her trick knee was acting up, so they made camp. “Damn waterfall,” Nuae whined as he rubbed his temples. Migraines still plagued him since his plummet that led him to the afterlife for the second time. “All that hardship and I am left with nothing but dishonor.”

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When It Rains, It Pours
From the Flashback of Jonathan Pike

Lightning flashed through the mottled grey sky. “Things have been bad before sergeant.” Mused Jonathan Pike to himself. He was attempting to drown his troubles in a mug of mead, due to the fact he was nearly horsewhipped by the town guard for the crime of another person. Pike’s eyes settled on the back wall of some tavern he’d forgotten the name of, “where the hell am I?” He thought. “Fandor’s Keep” he said aloud, earning curious glances from adjacent bar patrons. “No, that can’t be, we’re in the middle of a war,” Pike thought. He closed his eyes, and let the crash of the thunder and the drumming of the rain take him back to the graveyard.

They called it the graveyard because the Fangarian legion didn’t have the time or the resources to properly dispose of the dead, so the bodies were buried close to where they fell, in large festering pits. Others called it the Nolton Plains, but that was just a name on a map given by some sissy bureaucrat. He could deal with the death, the constant battle against the orcish menace, and even with the starvation from the shattered supply line, but he could not deal with the constant storms. The constant torrent of rain made everything cold and waterlogged, and made maintaining a serviceable trench nearly impossible. “What are you looking at? And why aren’t you digging?” shouted Sergeant Sturm. “Ugh… nothing sir, sorry sir,” sputtered Pike. He’d been digging for an hour, and was sick of this bullshit. With every shovelful of muck that he piled outside of trench, double sluiced over the top of the trench, splattering on the wooden plank walkway. “What do you MEAN you lost them?” shouted someone that Pike could only guess was Colonel Garret. Pike didn’t need to see the man to know who it was, whose booming baritone voice was more appropriate for a half-ogre than a man. Another flash of lightning made the sky look like a shattered pane of glass, and in the distance Pike saw movement. “Must be the scouting party Sergeant,” Pike said as he pointed in the direction of the movement. “You must be seeing things boy, the scouts came back this morning empty handed,” Sturm grumbled. Pike squinted at the horizon, trying to make out the movement he saw earlier. Lightning flashed, this time it generated muted light behind dark clouds, but it was still enough light for Pike to see the horrors before him.

Thunder rocked the small inn, momentary ending the merriment within, and driving pike out of his dream. Everyone in the inn grew quiet at the sound of thunder, except for one raucous group in the back. “That elvish Bastard! That fae CUNT!” roared a dwarf from the group. Pike recognized the voice as Yurgran Stoneteller, a foul mouthed dwarf from Praxter. Pike looked to where the profanity originated and saw a hulking half-ogre named Barrackus dominating the eastern end of the bar. Barrackus and Yergran were members of the Bloodhawks, an adventuring group that currently employed pike. Pike didn’t care much for the adventurer’s lifestyle, but they paid well and treated him fairly, so he was not about to complain. The two adventurers were probably talking about Nuae Emar, another Bloodhawk, who had recently gotten the group into some trouble with the keep prefect. Rumors swirled about orcish mages and grave robbing. Pike believed it had to be something to do with the latter because he knew there was no such thing as an orcish mage, orcish cleric maybe, but not a mage. Also, before Nuae left the group, he mentioned that each share was worth about 4 gold pieces, and the group was desperate for money. He figured Nuae was trying to dig up some stuff in the abandoned cemetery to make payroll. “Grave robbing ain’t much different than dungeon delving,” Pike sighed. Tired, Pike lurched out of his seat, paid his bar tab and made his way to his room. Looking down at the dry common room of the inn, Pike smiled and thought “Things have been worse.”

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Bad News, Everyone

Nuae thought it would be cool to go off and rob a graveyard, which the state has barred access to. On the verge of escaping, guards discovered him, and pursued him into the river. Despite doggy paddling frantically, Nuae was swept over the edge of the waterfall. He tried to walk back to the keep, but submitted to the elements and exhaustion, and died.

The party gathered the money to resurrect Nuae, who decided that his grave-digging and the public shaming were too much to handle, and he quit the party.

Despite his retirement, the party was punished for his actions in the Keep. The Blood Hawks were barred from the high town, and were fined.

The remaining members of the party came to a realization: Their shame is too much, their financial situation too dire. Something must be done. We will travel to the Mines of Chaos, and we will return with glory, or we will not return at all.

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Plunging into the Heretical Temple

The party starts with some basic maintenance, and trying to find some info, and see if there’s any work to be done. Yurgran’s agenda is to find stuff about the Mines of Chaos. The guy who runs the Hospice has maps, but doesn’t want to share them with lowly uncharismatic adventurers such as us.

Information about the mines: There are rumours of Orcs and kobolds, the creatures that live in the mines aren’t all allied, they’d fight each other if given the chance. The mines are to the east, in the mountains.

We’re hired to move into the fens to destroy a sacred heathen temple. (raining) While exploring the area, Yurgran is set upon by wolfmen. He’s brutally hurt, but survives the fight.

They arrive at the temple, decorated with foul engravings. Enter the sanctuary. The demon statue within is missing its eyes, which bear evidence of crude removal. Behind the statue, Yurgran was violated by a swarm of killer hornets. After they were defeated, Yurgran returned behind the statue to find some more treasure.

amongst the loot is a journal, a record of a man who died at the place, looking for the eyes of the demon thingy.

Loot:

Pants, magic
Shield, magic,
Potion, magic,
Magic wand

wineskin
backpack
book

135GP, 50 SP

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Levelling and Lizarding

The party is hired by the keep’s prefect to go “deal with” some lizardmen. The prefect is insistent that the local guards not be informed that the lizardmen are still alive. Apparently, the guards had been assigned to kill the lizardmen in the past, and thought they had completed the job. Their feelings would be hurt if they found out they had failed.

Yurgran Stoneteller and Nuae Alean Emar went north to level up, while the rest of the party stayed in Frandor’s Keep to gain information and fight a gorilla a few more times.

Upon Yurgran’s and Nuae’s return, the party headed out to the lizardmen fens. The Bloodhawks found the fens to be unpleasant, but not too difficult to navigate. They found a lizardman mud hut. Yurgran climbed atop the hut, then fell through the roof. While Yurgran was trapped in the hut with hostile lizardmen parents, the rest of the party was ambushed by Lizardmen that had been hiding in the murky waters.

We won, to acclaim and money.

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Trip To The Keep

The party is ambushed by a traveling dramatic speaker. Inspired by his impassioned plea to battle the orc forces to the North, the Blood Hawks headed out. They got lost on the way, and decided to stop at the Keep on the Borderlands. They spent quite a bit of money to get situated. Once they settled in, they were summoned by a local lord to a party, where they hope to receive some sort of job or commission.

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"A Dwarf Will Come To Lead Them"

The Blood Hawks finished the funeral of their former leader, Guri. Still thinking of their former leader, the party immediately recruited a former acquaintance of his to help with their vengeance on the caves that had taken their captain’s life. After some small, successful skirmishes against the insectile inhabitants, Nuae led a solo expedition into a mysterious underwater tunnel.

It turns out the tunnel led to a lair of a powerful owlbear, which eviscerated Nuae before the party could pull him to safety. Fortunately, Yurgran Stoneteller summoned the will to lead the Hawks to Nuae’s rescue. In all, the Blood Hawks ended up making some money in the deal, and Nuae spontaneously returned from the dead.

The party, having finished their business in the South, returned to Fangarie to tell everyone of their accomplishments, and to level up Nuae.

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Prison City

The Blood Hawks were hired to deliver a dangerous rogue to the Grey Hold to the south. They went to excess in terms of security to ensure the prisoner would not escape, binding his arms with shackles permanently locked, and hooding him. They hired a cart for the trip. The trip south was uneventful, except for an embarrassing encounter with another, higher level party. The delivery in the city was uneventful as well, netting the Hawks a total of 2000 GP for the mission.

In the prison city, the Hawks heard tell of a local monster threat through a guard who didn’t want to be sent off to deal with it. The guards offered to raise 400GP to deal with the threat, winning the Hawks’ eternal loyalty. The journey into the caves were not good, to put it mildly.

The cave contained a deadly swarm of monsters of insectile nature. They fell upon the party, killing the [former] party leader, and brutally injuring the rest. The party looked at their money and realized there was no way they could possibly afford a resurrection for their beloved leader. Instead of a return to this plane, the Hawks gave Guri the greatest send off a bunch of cheapskates could afford. There were dramatic speeches and hired mourners.

The next party leader remains undecided.

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Letters Home

The troupe has finally come to a consensus our new name will be the Blood Hawks. We felt that it was a good representation of our ferocity as well as determination. The blood hawk has been known to take prey much larger than itself and strikes fear into the common folk that do not understand the regal beast.
The ranks continue to swell as we hired on a young dwarf by the name of Yergren Stormcaller. He is a peculiar one to me as I have not much experience with dwarves, but he does possess some skill that hopefully will be of worth. I will explore his past as he grows to trust us more.
We began on our self appointed mission to help the farmers’ near Point Artal with some bandits. Our leader Guri has given an inspiring speech which apparently we all owe him one hundred orc scalps. It seems to have roused the men.
We followed a smoke plume and came to find a tavern that was on fire. We quickly helped bucket brigade until the fire was out. He gave us valuable information as the fire was caused by the very bandits we sought. He promised a place to stay if need be. I plan to take more favor than that, as I would like the name changed to “The Blood Hawk’s Tavern.”
With the information from Jeremiah, the inn keep, we began following the tracks through the woods. After a time we tracked them to a fortified stockade and turret. We quickly crafted a plot to lure out a patrol of what we now know to be orcs. Dogface Pete and his crew along with Jed Karuk lit a fire a mile south of the orc fortification. The thick headed enemy fell for our ploy and walked into the well lain trap. All six orcs in the patrol were slain through the use of my magic and brute force of my comrades. After looking over the dead it came to my attention that one of the orcs wore the symbol and garb of a Southern Orc League member. They are not normally found this far south and I find that worrisome as it seems to me that they are leading these lesser orcs. Perhaps they are the advanced party preparing for a new southern campaign.
The Southern Orc League is a well known group throughout the northern reaches of fangarie and beyond. They are the most organized and well trained orcs in the land, yet here lay one at my feet. A rather unimpressive sight truth be told. They supposedly grow up learning nothing but discipline and war. I’ve also heard tell that they are devoutly religious. In any matter, the strength and ferocity of an orc mixed with discipline and devotion to warcraft is certainly something to be respected as a more than worthy adversary. I only hope that my new brothers have the stomach for what is to come.
Nuae Alean Emar

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